Construction supply chains told to slash cost of 600 schools and academies in latest blow for sector

The government is asking construction companies to slash 40% off the cost of schools projects that were approved by Michael Gove in July, in the latest attempt to save money from the school building programme.

The news, which will force supply chains to rescope projects previously thought safe from cuts, comes two days after the government revealed that the annual budget for school building work would be cut by 60% over the course of the next parliament.

It is understood that the government wants to reduce the overall cost of building around 600 schools, including those from the BSF programme and academies, given approval by Gove by 40%.

All projects that were given approval in July will be asked to find savings. The exact amount demanded from each project will depend on the stage it is at, meaning some may be cut by more than 40% and some less.

The local authorities involved and their construction supply chains are being given a month to come up with the savings. They will be advised by Partnerships for Schools, the government’s school delivery agency, and will have to re-examine the scope of projects and look at value engineering to drive down cost.

It is understood that that the money saved will be used to fund other schools work. One source said: “It’s about making the money go further.”